SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Inspired by the quality of ingredients in countries abroad, San Francisco-based Adrian Hoffman and Ismael Macias opened their “chef-driven, chef-curated” distribution group, Four Star Seafood, in 2015. What started as the two chefs buying live sardines from a fisherman in Half Moon Bay has grown into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse with 13 trucks delivering fresh fish, local produce, artisan cheeses and meats, and more, all over the Bay Area. Since restaurants make up much of their usual client base, when the shelter-in-place announcement came in early March, Hoffman and Macias upgraded their online store, focusing on home delivery. Today, the Four Star website lists more than 800 items, from California uni to cheeses from Central Coast Creamery, and pies from Pietisserie in Berkeley, plus meal kits and care packages for the stay-at-home cook.With all the unexpected changes wrought by the pandemic, “It’s been a scramble, but if it wasn’t so dire it’d be fun,” says Hoffman. “We basically reinvented ourselves overnight, and it’s been quite an adventure.”
LOS ANGELES, CA
In 2010, Sisters Lydia and Marnie Clarke opened their first Southern California cheese shop, Cheese Cave, in Claremont, and three years later opened quite literally, a sister store, DTLA Cheese, in Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market. Although the pair misses chatting over-the-counter with curious customers, the Clarkes have found ways to keep telling the stories behind the cheeses they sell. “What we really love about being cheesemongers is knowing how this cheese was made, how it got to us,” says Lydia. In addition to an online store, DTLA Cheese has a Cheesemonger Hotline, and anyone itching to learn more about cheese can drop inon one of their Zoom courses. Lydia encourages cheese fans to take this new era as an opportunity to explore. “I challenge you to eat diverse cheeses outside of your normal comfort zone,” she says.
317 S. Broadway #45, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Stall A7-A8, Grand Central Market
Daily 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
325 Yale Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
Wed. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (pre-order only)
Mekelburg’s hits the trifecta of food and drink: one-third each gourmet food store, small-plates eatery, and craft beer bar. It’s owned by Alicia and Daniel Guevara, a husband-and-wife duo that has been making waves in the NewYork food scene for over a decade. Having caught wind of the COVID-19 climate abroad quite early, the Guevaras started planning a pivot in November and even before shelter-in-place was announced, Mekelburg’s was ready. “Our table seating and bar seating went into storage and we just became a full-out grocery market,” says Alicia. They also introduced a contactless-delivery service they call Mek’s Direct. “If you live in Brooklyn, literally anything within our shop’s four walls—a bottle of tequila, a bottle of wine, a six pack of beer, a babka, some of our amazing cheeses, Fermin Iberico ham— we can get all that stuff to your front door non-contact.”
293 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Sun. – Wed. 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.
319 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
718.399. 2337 x3
Sun. – Wed. 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 11 p.m